When you first set up in business, you end up taking on any old job just to get the ball rolling and some cash coming through the door.

Hopefully all the work coming in is exactly what you want/ need but reality is not like that and you will find yourself spending way too long working on something you dislike for less than minimum hourly wage – in effect a low rent gig (low rent as in – you’re getting nothing in return, be that cash, enjoyment, time etc).
But, you have to crack on because, after all, it’s better than nothing.

Then, hopefully, as time goes on, if you haven’t folded and gone back to a ‘proper’ job, you start to see some pretty top quality gigs come your way.
Your confidence builds, you attract more quality gigs and then all of a sudden you get the offer of one of those ‘low rent’ gigs (the ones you would previously take on without a thought) but this time, you are more settled in where you are going, you’re more focused and regrettably, but thankfully, you turn the gig down.

If you’re still at that point where you don’t feel comfortable turning down work, my advice is to give yourself a break and look at it as a learning session.
There’s nothing more important than learning how to do your job better, as this is then reflected in your output which can lead to work that’s more aligned with your goals.

When WIIFTC turns in WIIFM
Because of your hard work over XXX amount of time you’ve built up a reputation, you’ve learned well to the point that you’re now able to give yourself justified gig options.
When you start out it’s all ‘what’s in it for the client?’ but now it’s (or at least it should be) ‘what’s in it for me?’.

Noli Esse Dick
Learning when to say no and when to outsource, or pass on, is a major pain point for some but it can be a massive empathy lesson.
It’s okay to say no when you feel the gig would be against your principles, the budget doesn’t match your price point etc but always be prepared to recommend someone else.

If it’s not for you, fine, but it might be the exact break that a connection is looking for.

If you’re at that point where you have enough work coming in then give someone else a break.
Don’t simply turn down work because you think the job is below you, but, think how important that work might be to someone else.
And, you never know, that potential client you just turned away with a bad taste in their mouth might turn into a global corporation with a massive budget to work on a project which you would kill for.

No matter what crap comes your way in business, always have a shovel handy to clear up the mess.